Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reader Submissions: Cold Northern Vengeance: Trial by Ice

This is a compilation of sorts. It apparently originally began as an idea to re-release the band's 2005 tape Curse, but gradually evolved into including some more demo and other rare material. I am all for bands re-releasing their material to a wider audience, especially when the band toiled in obscurity for a while. That is not to say the whole world was clamoring for a reissue of all of Cold Northern Vengeance's material. I had not heard of them before this, but I am not complaining either.

The opening track had a bit of a Varathron-esque feel to it. It was extremely murky and disturbing-sounding. But it quickly moves into a more raw Norse-style black metal sound with the next track. The third track sounds somewhat more industrial with death metal-style vocals. Basically what I am getting at here is that the band often sounds completely different from one track to the next. There is basically something here for every type of black metal fan. And that is where things get a little bit distressing.

I do not mind variation. A little variation is important from time to time on albums because it keeps things interesting. But when a band flips through so many different styles that the album sounds more like a various artists compilation than an album by one band, it is a little annoying. I can not tell whether Cold Northern Vengeance actually has a core sound.

It is very clear that Cold Northern Vengeance have the songwriting skills and chops to pull off a number of styles of black metal. I just wish that they would pick one style and maybe include some occasional influences from others. All of the songs are well-executed and generally sound pretty good, there is just no coherence. Diversity is good, but when you sacrifice identity, it becomes frustrating.

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